The Arena Football League has three weeks remaining on the regular season schedule and Arizona, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Jose and Spokane have locked down five of the eight postseason slots, leaving three spots still to be decided.
The AFL consists of 14 teams divided into two conferences, National and American, with two divisions each. The four division champion’s advance (regardless of overall record) to the playoffs along with two wildcard teams (best remaining overall record) from each conference.
The American Conference playoff preview was published on Thursday; the National Conference postseason preview is today’s topic.
The National Conference includes the Pacific and Western divisions.
The Pacific Division is made up of the Portland Thunder, San Jose SaberCats and Spokane Shock while the Western Division includes the Arizona Rattlers, Los Angeles KISS and San Antonio Talons.
San Jose (12-4) locked up the division weeks ago, while Spokane (8-7) is assured of one of the two conference wildcards. Despite a sub-.500 record, Portland (4-11) still has a chance at grabbing the remaining wildcard.
Arizona (14-1) has had no challenge from within the division and will advance to the postseason as Western Division champion. Los Angeles (3-12) has had a disappointing inaugural season in the AFL, yet can still get into the playoffs if they finish ahead of Portland in the conference. San Antonio (1-14) is in total collapse, as shown by the league takeover of the team a few weeks ago, and is looking toward the end of the season.
San Jose and Arizona are the best teams in the National Conference and are likely to meet each other in the Conference title game. Spokane and Portland will advance as the wildcards.
Portland will host Los Angeles on Saturday night with the winner gaining the advantage in the wildcard chase. Heading into the game, the Thunder hold a one game lead over the KISS so a Portland win would all but lock up the wildcard, but a loss would place the teams in a tie with two weeks to go in the regular season giving Los Angeles the advantage due to their remaining opponents (San Antonio, Jacksonville). Portland closes the season with Arizona and Spokane and will be hard pressed to come up with a win in either contest.
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